Jerome Bushyhead, my adopted Cheyenne Dad

Jerome, at a healthier time in his life.

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(Taken at his Western Expo, I believe…)

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This photo was taken at Jerome’s house in El Reno, shortly before he passed on.

Jerome’s “End of Freedom” End of Freedom by Jerome Bushyhead

Jerome & I, along with our families, shared so many good times through the years during personal time and while set up at shows such as Red Earth, gallery shows, the yearly art calendar signings, the Western Expo he directed and coordinated, and shows like the Seminole Tribe’s “Native America ’93” week-long show in Hialeah, Florida which I will be sharing stories about later. He was such a genuine and gentle, kind spirited man. He seemed to take me under his wing shortly after I began showing my art and was a steadfast adviser and friend, soon becoming family to me, my husband and children.

Vision Seeker by Jerome Bushyhead Vision Seeker by Jerome Bushyhead

After many of the art shows, we would all go out for dinner. Jerome had such a powerful presence about him. It seemed as though a silence would fall over the room and everyone there would turn to observe this massive, captivating man each time we walked into a restaurant. You could tell that “they knew he was someone special” the moment he walked in. And indeed he was. I remember one particular man who sat at the table behind him. This man could not take his eyes off of Jerome, staring at him and his huge hand thrown over the back of the chair, bearing a turquoise ring “that would have almost fit most people’s wrists.” Laura, his wife, made a light-hearted comment that night about being jealous with all the attention he was getting (not just from the women…but from all the men in the room). But that was the way it always was with Jerome. People were drawn to him. Of course, this suited Jerome. He liked people and was always warm, approachable and his presence and words were always powerful and welcomed.

Warrior’s Commitment Warrior’s Commitment by Jerome Bushyhead

Jerome had an incredible speaking voice. He had a gift for speaking and a comfortable ease about him that kept your attention. When he spoke, people listened. His words were full of substance because he spoke from the heart and from a place of wisdom. And conversation was always easy with Jerome. I looked up to him and learned so much from him. So many gifts he gave me…

jerome-may-13-1999.jpgHe is never far away these days. I have a very large, lone coyote that visits me. He travels alone. I always know when he is there. He has a special presence about him as Jerome always had and he exhibits that quiet strength I saw in Jerome. One day he approached the door of the barn and looked inside as I was feeding our horses (…as witnessed from a distance by my husband). Often, he will quietly walk across our front or back yard… very near the house, throwing me a curious glance through the window as he slowly passes through. He is never in a hurry. And I always get that warm, comforting feeling that I had any time I was around Jerome. So, as the Coyote Walks By… I know it is Jerome – keeping a watchful eye… checking on me. Saying hello. He lets me know he is well… and still there for me.

Jerome Bushyhead (9/13/1929 – 4/15/2000)

More on Jerome Bushyhead: The English meaning of Jerome Bushyhead’s Cheyenne name is Coyote Walks By.” As well as being a fellow artist, Jerome became my adopted Cheyenne dad and was a dear friend. Jerome Bushyhead was born in Calumet, Oklahoma September 13, 1929. He passed on in El Reno, Oklahoma April 15, 2000.

Below are some of his many accomplishments:

His education was at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana; His art subject matter of specialty was Cheyenne and Plains Indian Beliefs & Traditions. These included spiritual topics and the path traveled by the warrior. He was recognized for his excellent interpretation of the life of the plains Indians, exhibiting his work and speaking extensively throughout the U.S. and throughout Germany, Switzerland, France and Austria. His original works hang in private collections all over the world.He was a producer and host of his own television show “Unity” on Channel 4, KTVY, in Oklahoma City for eight years; He was Director of the Oklahoma State Fair Indian Program since 1976; He hosted a radio program on Station KELR, El Reno Oklahoma, entitled “The Indian Nation Hour” for five years; He founded the Cheyenne Nation Arts and Crafts Show and Inter-Tribal Pow-Wow in 1972, which has become a National Event; He was Co-Founder of the Oklahoma Indian Art League, Inc.; His Painting, “The Worshiping Warrior”, appeared on the cover of the 1974 summer issue of the “Chronicles of Oklahoma” magazine published by the Oklahoma Historical Society; He is noted for being the spokesman for all Indians charged in April 1974 with “Feather Violations” by the U.S. Wildlife Commission. Jerome was the primary force in the Indians fight to retain the right to use the feathers. He appeared on both local and national TV in his efforts to ensure the right was restored to the Indian people; He worked with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma as the Public Information Director; He worked with the Pacific International Enterprises Movie Company on “Wind Walker” from 1980- 81; He lectured at schools, colleges, organizations, communities and had been involved with charitable work such as providing a painting to the Los Angeles Indian Actors Association for a raffle to provide funds for a National Tour.

Obituary

JEROME GILBERT BUSHYHEAD

Wake service for widely-known Cheyenne artist Jerome Gilbert BUSHYHEAD (Coyote Walks By), 70, will be at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 19, at Benson Memorial Chapel, 100 S. Barker, El Reno. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m., Thursday, April 20, at Jenks Simmons Field House, El Reno. The Rev. Robert Pinezaddleby, the Rev. Jerry Ervin and the Rev. Robin Tiger will officiate. Burial in Concho Cemetery will be directed by Huber-Benson Funeral Home.

He was born Sept. 13, 1929, at Calumet to Fred and Dulcie (WHITEBIRD) BUSHYHEAD and died Saturday, April 15, 2000, at his home in El Reno.

He graduated from El Reno High School in 1948 and was all-state in basketball. He attended Centenary College, Shreveport, La., on a basketball scholarship. A veteran of the US Air Force, he became a full-time artist in 1970.

He traveled extensively throughout the US and Europe with his artwork and was selected as featured artist for the "96 Native American Festival" in Europe. In 1971 he founded the Cheyenne Nation Powwow in El Reno and from 1973-81 hosted an "Indian Nation Hour" program on two El Reno radio stations and from 1976-81 hosted his own Native American TV program on Channel 4 in Oklahoma City. In 1973 he co-founded the Oklahoma Indian Art League.

In 1981, as Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes PIO, he worked with production staff on the movie, "Windwalker." Since 1976 he had directed Indian dance programs for the State Fair of Oklahoma and in 1992 became director of the Western Expo in Oklahoma City.

He also was active in tribal politics and in 1974 was instrumental in obtaining legal protection for Native American craftspersons working with feathers.

Survivors include a daughter, a brother and a daughter whom he adopted in the Indian way and six grandchildren.

Source: The Watonga Republican, Wednesday, April 19, 2000

Published in: on May 24, 2007 at 3:15 am  Comments (13)  

Tulsa Women’s Yellow Pages Cover

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This is the cover I did for Tulsa’s 1989 First Edition Women’s Yellow Pages.

Published in: on May 24, 2007 at 2:59 am  Leave a Comment